Holiday shopping survey spots generation gaps

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on November 27, 2006

Holiday shopping survey spots generation gaps

A recent poll highlights the generational differences when it comes to holiday shopping, and the implications for retailers as they attempt to capture the holiday spend of Gen Y, Gen X, Boomers and the Silent/GI Generation.

Gen Y shoppers are typically a prime target for retailers because of their affinity for fashion and impulse buying. Among a list of more than 20 stores to choose from, the Maritz Poll research found that significantly more Gen Ys plan to shop at the following retailers than either Gen X, Baby Boomers or the Silent/GI Generation:

  1. Best Buy (63%);
  2. Macy's (38%);
  3. Victoria's Secret (34%);
  4. Apple Store/iTunes (28%);
  5. American Eagle Outfitters (20%);
  6. Hollister (13%);
  7. Zales (10%).

Planned gifts The research also shows that younger generations appear to know exactly what they like and have their shopping lists prepared in advance of heading out the door.

According to Mark Rein, director of strategic consulting for the Maritz Research Retail Group, "When asked about their approach to holiday shopping, both Gen Y and Gen X were significantly more likely than Boomers and the Silent/GI Generation to say they plan which gifts they are going to buy and at which store, which makes it very important for retailers targeting these generations to invest in advertising and communication that will influence them during their planning process."

Store preferences When compared to the market research on other consumer generations, Gen X and Boomers don't have any clear store preferences or loyalty when it comes to holiday shopping. The only store where Gen X say they plan to shop at a significantly higher level than Boomer and Silent/GI generations was Apple/iTunes. When compared to Gen Y and Gen X, no stores stood out among Boomers' choices of where they planned to shop.

However, Gen X and Boomers tend to have greater discretionary incomes, so Rein points out that "previous Maritz studies have shown that retailers need to roll out the red carpet and provide an excellent shopping experience to wow these demographic groups."

Wal-Mart (61%), Target (37%) and Sears (33%) topped Silent/GIs list of stores at which they plan to shop. However, when compared to other generations (Gen Y, Gen X and Boomers), they are significantly less likely to shop at one of those stores - Target - as well as several others, including Best Buy and Apple.

Gift Cards Significantly more Silent/GIs say they will not give gift cards (42%) compared to Gen X and Boomers. Also when asked about their approach to holiday gift giving, the Silent/GI Generation groups were significantly more likely to say they prefer to give cash over the other three generations.

According to Rein, "We have found that the Silent/GI Generation is comfortable with Sears; and surprisingly the store has a fairly broad appeal across generations with 38% of Gen Y, 29% of Gen X and 35% of Boomers planning to shop there. A focused initiative to communicate with Silent/GIs that the store has appeal with younger generations, as well as has gift cards, could help Sears capture this untapped spend."

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